Last updated: March 10, 2022 @ 11:18AM
PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities
Fields of Specialization
Critique and Social Transformation
Culture and Aesthetics
Technology & Digital Humanities
Ways of Knowing
Dean, Faculty of Humanities
Carol U. Merriam
Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of Humanities
J. Keri Cronin
Lynn Arner, English Language and Literature (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Gregory Betts, English Language and Literature (email@example.com)
Irene Blayer, Modern Languages, Literature, and Cultures (
Alexander Christie, Centre for Digital Humanities (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Christine Daigle, Philosophy (email@example.com)
Stefan Dolgert, Political Science (firstname.lastname@example.org
David Fancy, Dramatic Arts (email@example.com)
Margot Francis, Sociology / Women’s and Gender Studies (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jason Hawreliak, Centre for Digital Humanities (email@example.com
Jane Koustas, Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mathew Martin, English Language and Literature (email@example.com)
Elizabeth Neswald, History (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Trevor Norris, Education (email@example.com)
Andrew Pendakis, English Language and Literature (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Matthew Royal, Music (email@example.com)
Danny Samson, History (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Christina Santos, Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures / Communication, Popular Culture, and Film (email@example.com)
Elizabeth Sauer, English Language and Literature (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sue Spearey, English Language and Literature (email@example.com)
Mark Spencer, History (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Graduate Program Director
Brock University's Interdisciplinary Humanities doctoral program provides students with a focussed context in which to engage with topics integral to the contested notions of knowledge, values, and creativity, as reflected in the specific fields of Critique and Social Transformation, Culture and Aesthetics, Technology and Digital Humanities, and Ways of Knowing.
The program is committed to providing a rigorous interdisciplinary teaching and research environment that nurtures scholarly and creative activity. Such endeavours aim to investigate the past as well as influence the ways in which reflection and creation contribute to the further unfolding of society and culture.
Students pursuing Brock University's Interdisciplinary Doctoral Humanities Program will have the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines.
Successful completion of a Master's degree in a humanities or cognate discipline, normally with a minimum average grade of 80%. Agreement from a faculty member to supervise the student is also required for admission to the program. An interview may be required.
The Graduate Admission Committee will review all applications and recommend admission of a limited number of suitable candidates.
Students are required to successfully complete 6 half-credit courses, including the two compulsory core courses (HUMA 7P01 and HUMA 7P02); a language exam that demonstrates reading competency in a language beyond English; a compulsory non-credit research and professionalization seminar in the first and second year, HUMA 7N07; written and oral comprehensive exams; a thesis proposal; a thesis and a thesis defense.
||one of HUMA 7P01, HUMA 7P02
||two or three half-credits from program course offerings or approved electives
||comprehensive examination reading lists submitted to GPD by June 30
||thesis Supervisory Committee finalized by August 31
||one of HUMA 7P01, 7P02
||one or two half-credits from program course offerings or approved electives
||comprehensive examinations completed by August 31
||final thesis proposal including a bibliography submitted to the supervisory committee by April 1, to be approved by the supervisory committee and the GPD by April 30
||completion of language requirement before defense
||completion of thesis and defense
For the detailed description of the program, please consult the HUMA Program Handbook.
All students must obtain approval of their proposed program of study from the GPD prior to registration each term. Students must take 4 courses in addition to the two core seminars (HUMA 7P01 and HUMA 7P02) and in addition to the Research and Professionalization seminar (HUMA 7N07). Except with the approval of the GPD, students may take a maximum of one half-credit course elective. Courses are to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the program. These may be drawn from the Faculty of Graduate Studies course bank (at the MA or PhD level) or may be the Directed Reading course (HUMA 7P90). Students may only take the Directed Reading (HUMA 7P90) course once.
Students will be required to demonstrate reading competency in one language other than English by means of a written examination. Students will translate a short passage of approximately 750 words into English. Use of a dictionary is permitted. The exam is pass/fail and may be taken as many times as is necessary for the student to pass the exam. The student is responsible for informing the GPD that she or he is prepared to write the exam, and the student must pass the exam before defending her or his thesis. The GPD will select texts in the language chosen by the student and their supervisor. The GPD will administer the exam. The exams will be anonymized and assessed by one examiner. Students will have 2 hours to write their exam.
The language chosen is to be related to the program of study and must be approved by the supervisor. In cases where no other language than English is relevant to the program of study, reading competence in French will be required. Evidence of passing a similar language exam in an MA degree may take the place of the PhD language exam at the discretion of the GPD and the Program Committee.
The comprehensive examinations must be completed by August 31 of Year II of the program. The comprehensive exams consist of two written examinations (general and specific) and one oral examination. Students must complete all of their course requirements before they take the comprehensive examinations. All exams are graded pass/fail. Each exam has a separate examination committee whose members grade the exam (see below). Both examination committees, along with the GPD, will constitute the oral examination committee. Please consult the HUMA Program Handbook for additional information.
By April 1 of Year III, students will submit their final, revised, thesis proposal and bibliography to the Supervisory Committee and the GPD for approval. The proposal will be 20-25 pages. The thesis topic is to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the program. The proposal is to reflect on-going work with the supervisor and must be approved by the Supervisory Committee and the GPD no later than April 30, Year III. Please consult the HUMA Program Handbook for additional information.
The thesis will be completed in Year IV, and should reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the degree. The length and format of the final submission will be determined by the student in consultation with his or her supervisor and approved by the Program Committee. Normally a thesis will be 250-300 pages.
(also offered as HIST 5V71)
Use of the computer for research, teaching, and expression in the Humanities to support teaching and research, including topics such as text analysis, high performance computing, Geographic Information Systems, quantitative methods, photo-editing and animation, simulations, and serious games.
Graduate Seminar in Political Theory (Political Theory for Posthumans)
(also offered as POLI 5P83)
A comparison of important and opposing contemporary approaches to the interpretation of major texts or issues in political theory.
Preparation, public defence, and examination of a thesis that is interdisciplinary in approach and that demonstrates the candidate's capacity for independent thought and study.
Professionalization and Research Seminar
Non-credit compulsory research seminar for first and second-year students. Forum to develop thesis research topics and academic skills.
Interdisciplinary Research and Writing in the Humanities
The nature and academic requirements of interdisciplinary studies, including research methodologies and resources. Focus on reading, discussion, writing, and the ongoing construction of an interdisciplinary thesis in the Humanities.
Fields of Interdisciplinary Study
Introduction to the four fields of the Interdisciplinary PhD in Humanities: 1) Epistemologies; 2) Critique and Social Transformation; 3) Culture and Aesthetics; 4) Technology and Digital Humanities.
Participation in the development and delivery of an undergraduate course under the mentorship of a Brock faculty member. Development of a teaching portfolio.
Prerequisite(s): HUMA 7P01, 7P02 and four additional half-courses. Completed thesis proposal.
Note: This course will be evaluated as Credit/No-Credit and cannot be used as an elective to fulfill the PhD in Interdisciplinary degree requirements.
Buddhism and Psychoanalysis
Interdisciplinary study of the relationship between Buddhism and psychoanalysis as it has developed from Freud to the present. Theorists such as Freud, Hui-neng, D.T. Suzuki, Lacan, Mari Ruti and Z︣iz︣ek.
Text, Context, Intertext in Narrative: Constituting and Locating the Self in Culture
Interdisciplinary, intercultural and comparative approach to the study of narrative as it contributes to the construction of the self and cultures. Analysis of orality, storytelling, performance, narrative, memory, and cultural identity. Authors may include Benjamin, Ong, Ricoeur, Lejeune, White, Taylor.
Trauma, Subjectivity, and Culture
Trauma studies as a field of interdisciplinary study. The relationships among trauma, subjectivity, art, and culture studied through selected theorists, such as Caruth, LaCapra, and Scarry, and selected works of art.
Immanence, Aesthetics, Politics
An investigation into the implications of systems of immanent thought for questions of aesthetics and politics. Thinkers include Bergson, Bradotti, Colebrook, Deleuze, Guattari, Manning, Massumi, Negri, Spinoza, and Whitehead.
Genre and Cultural Production: Form and Meaning
Genre theory and criticism of cultural productions such as film, television, literature, print, and music.
Hermeneutics of Personal, Social, and Artistic Transformation(s)
Theories of interpretation structure subjective and intersubjective experience. Theorists may include M. Heidegger, H. G. Gadamer, P. Ricoeur, H. Marcuse, R. Ingarten, M. Foucault, and J. Habermas.
Feminist Theory and Knowledge Production
Investigates the production of knowledge in relation to gender, sexuality, race, and class. Key sites of inquiry include futurity, inequity in academe, neo-colonialist fantasies about Muslim women, and struggles among different groups of academic feminists (such as neo-liberal humanists versus antifa feminists). Authors may include Wiegman, Sedgwick, Ahmed, Loomba, Messer-Davidow, and Love.
Examination of colonial and post-colonial history, fiction, and art in colonial and settler-colonial societies.
Subjectivity Beyond Postmodern Global Capitalism
An examination of the possibilities of reconstituting subjectivity outside the logic of capitalist identity, through theory and literature. Writers include Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Thomas Pynchon, RD Laing, Felix Guattari, Giorgio Agamben, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and others.
Fanaticism: Political and Aesthetic Dimensions
Analysis of texts and art related to political, religious, and aesthetic extremism, excess, passion and their value-counterparts: moderation, balance, and reason. Discussions and debates will focus on how these conceptual dichotomies have shaped thought, dissent, and creative activity from the ancient world until the present.
Consumerism as Worldview
Explores the origins, nature and implications of consumerism as a worldview from historical, philosophical, political, cultural and ecological perspectives. Themes to be examined include: commodification; branding; McDonaldization; citizen/consumer and modern/postmodern divide; historical progress; and technology and ideology. Authors may include Marx, Arendt, Heidegger, Baudrillard.
Current Questions about Education, Democracy and the Public Good
Examination of current and historical perspectives on the relationship between democracy and education, and threats to the public good. Humanities approach to education that explores populism, radicalism, political apathy, individualization, academic freedom, and indoctrination.
Thinking and Representing the Anthropocene and Extinction
An interdisciplinary examination of the philosophical and cultural meanings of the Anthropocene and extinction.
Theory and Praxis of Digital Humanities
Introduction to computationally-supported methods and applications for analysis, expression, and teaching in the digital humanities. Course will provide readings on topics ranging from agent-based simulations to text analysis, and practical instruction in 3D modeling and Geographic Information Systems.
Note: No programming skills required.
Deep Maps in the Digital Humanities
Course provides a theoretical and practical overview of evolving expressive forms in the digital humanities, with a specific focus on the deep map. Students will review extant literature on the deep map, and participate in the conception, creation and design assessment of a proposed innovation for the Deep Map, expressed in Augmented Reality.
Principles of Interactive Media: Theory and Design
Key theoretical concepts and debates related to interactivity, games, participatory media, and design. Analysis of interactive texts including videogames, augmented reality platforms, and social networking sites.
Prototyping humanities scholarship in unreal times
Interdisciplinary study of realist and non-realist techniques in literature and the digital humanities. Humanities approaches to prototyping visualizations, maps, and virtual reality artifacts, with a focus on critical analysis and open access publication. No previous technical expertise whatsoever assumed.
History and practice of digital literacies through a blend of theoretical and applied approaches. Examination of topics such as Actor Network Theory, Black Code Studies, and Surveillance Capitalism. No prior technical skills required.
Research course with directed study and regular meetings with a faculty member, covering topics not offered in a designated course, and with permission of the Graduate Program Director.